Working Towards Net Zero

Sustainable Tech Council Conversation

May 25, 2022 3:00 PM4:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

With the world spiraling into a climate crisis, BWG and World Wide Technology are teaming up to promote sustainability and improve the carbon footprint of the enterprise technology industry. What initiatives are forming, and what practical steps can your organization take?

The first step in these environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives is to recognize the effect companies have on the environment and society as a whole. And the next step is to find practical solutions to reduce that impact. With a focus on sustainable technology, strategy consulting, and data and AI, BWG and World Wide Technology’s Sustainable Enterprise Technology Council (SETC) are helping companies of all sizes chart a course to net zero.

In this virtual event, Greg Irwin is joined by Brendan Walsh, Principal of ESG at World Wide Technology, to talk about the SETC’s mission to lower the carbon footprint in the enterprise technology sector. Together, they dive into their community-building initiatives, how they're looking to make organizations energy efficient, and why we should pursue ESG opportunities now.

 

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

 

  • What is the mission of the Sustainable Enterprise Technology Council (SETC)?
  • How the SETC is looking to drive engagement and includes a range of companies in its initiatives
  • What are environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives, and how can they be measured?
  • The three components of ESG solutions: sustainable technology, strategy consulting, and data and AI
  • Why you shouldn’t let lofty goals stop you from making progress
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Event Partners

World Wide Technology

World Wide Technology (WWT), a global technology solution provider that designs, builds, demonstrates and deploys innovative technology products, integrated architectural solutions and transformational digital experiences for large public and private organizations around the globe.

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Sustainable Enterprise Technology Council

Sustainable Enterprise Technology Council is a community of professionals whose mission it is to increase the understanding, promote and share practical steps towards achieving more energy efficient enterprise technology.

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Guest Speaker

Greg Irwin LinkedIn

Co-Founder, Co-CEO at BWG Strategy LLC

BWG Strategy is a research platform that provides market intelligence through Event Services, Business Development initiatives, and Market Research services. BWG hosts over 1,800 interactive executive strategy sessions (conference calls and in-person forums) annually that allow senior industry professionals across all sectors to debate fundamental business topics with peers, build brand awareness, gather market intelligence, network with customers/suppliers/partners, and pursue business development opportunities.

Brendan Walsh

Principal - ESG at World Wide Technology

Brendan Walsh is the Principal of ESG at World Wide Technology (WWT), a global technology services provider. In 2020, Brendan received a Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR) Certification from the GARP SCR program. He’s the Founder of ESG Risk Guard and previously worked as the Executive Vice President of Global Corporate Payments at American Express. Brendan holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Glasgow and a master’s in sustainability from Harvard.

Event Moderator

Greg Irwin LinkedIn

Co-Founder, Co-CEO at BWG Strategy LLC

BWG Strategy is a research platform that provides market intelligence through Event Services, Business Development initiatives, and Market Research services. BWG hosts over 1,800 interactive executive strategy sessions (conference calls and in-person forums) annually that allow senior industry professionals across all sectors to debate fundamental business topics with peers, build brand awareness, gather market intelligence, network with customers/suppliers/partners, and pursue business development opportunities.

Brendan Walsh

Principal - ESG at World Wide Technology

Brendan Walsh is the Principal of ESG at World Wide Technology (WWT), a global technology services provider. In 2020, Brendan received a Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR) Certification from the GARP SCR program. He’s the Founder of ESG Risk Guard and previously worked as the Executive Vice President of Global Corporate Payments at American Express. Brendan holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Glasgow and a master’s in sustainability from Harvard.

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Discussion Transcription

Greg Irwin  0:18  

First off, good afternoon. It's nice to speak with so many people, some who I get to talk to, from time to time, a few who I get to see face to face or over a camera. So this is great. Today's a big day, I'm really proud to be able to kick off this session. I’m Greg Irwin. I'm one of the partners at BWG. And, you know, we were on executive networking and discussion forums, many of which you guys met many of you who have been on them. And we're partnered up with Brendan Walsh, with, with Don Valero with and the team over at WWT, to kick off an initiative, really an organization called the Sustainable Enterprise Technology Council SETC. This is an independent group. And the goal and initiative and mission, which we'll go through is to drive practical steps towards improving our carbon footprint for enterprise technology. It's a huge initiative. And Don Molera, and I have been speaking for some time about it about the problems. And and the challenges the tremendous challenges. And the fact that this is a generational kind of initiative that needs real collaboration and discovery and research, and community to sell. So one small step in that is creating this council, sustainable enterprise tech Council. And we'll go through what that means and what that is. But before we do that, I want to let Brendan and Dawn and the WWT team that's involved here, give give a little intro. So you know who who are the, you know, the main your main hosts, and then we'll get into some material we provided. And also really talk about the initiatives we've got, and what we're trying to build and trying to find some evangelists, some people who have a passion, who have a real desire to drive this forward. So that's, that's the exciting part of this. But let's go over to Brendan, and then Don, and we'll kind of grow from there.

 

Brendan Walsh  2:49  

Okay, thank you, Greg. Good afternoon, everyone. Delighted to be here. My name is Brendan Walsh. I, my secret here is I've been with WWT for just one month now. Prior to this, I had my own consultancy focused on ESG strategy and ESG risk. Prior to that I had a long career with American Express, most recently running their US commercial business here in the States. And similar concurrently with that I was also on the board of the UK regulator for the energy markets for gas and electricity. So that's the snapshot of me. Obviously, from the accent, you can tell I come from Scotland is an Irish name. I come from Scotland, but delighted to be here.

 

Greg Irwin  3:40  

Alright, hey, let's let's jump in. So we prepared a little bit of material. I'm going to share some slides, which I don't normally do here at BWG, but let me just know, can everyone see this? Okay. Can everyone see the material? Okay, good. So, what we've now created and kicked off the council, we have two founding organizations, BWG, and World Wide Tech. And the initiative is gigantic. It's really to make headway towards the initiatives of carbon neutrality. And what's interesting is the initiatives are steps to get there are almost unfathomable unfathomably difficult to use if I if I'm going to mute a couple lines, if, if I get it if I hear background noise. So the real question is, how do you get there? Like how could you possibly take a data center that's running on you know, that's that's driving petabytes and just, you know, 100,000 square feet and consuming tremendous amounts of power and in dirty energy and basically hope to get to carbon neutral, how do you do it? It's, it's almost unfathomable, but that's the task and there are steps that can be done. So what we're doing is we're we're going to try and put together a community to share best practices. Real references, help evangelize build community research, debunk things that seem to work or don't work and make honest progress. That's, that's the initiative here. It's not one meeting. It's not one presentation. This is a journey. And it's really starting with a community walking down that journey. So I'm going to go here for WWT and BWG are founding partners, but not the sole partners. So our real idea is, in a month, in two months, in three months, we want to see a half dozen and a dozen organizations supporting this initiative. And I don't want a group of 40 and 50 participants, I want groups of hundreds, who are listening, and dozens who are contributing, and going from a small conversation of a couple people up to many conversations of many people. So what we're looking for here today is to introduce this to, to get feedback, and to find partners, and, and colleagues and peers to take the initial steps towards driving, driving reality around this. We've got momentum, and we have enough content and ideas to sustain us. But that's not what we're trying to do. What we're trying to do is build a community and and to walk a journey across hundreds of organizations. We got a couple more so drumbeat of engagement. We are creating accounts Council is members. Like I would hope everyone here would say yes, there's no cost to join. Your involvement could be everything from just joining a call when you're free up to evangelizing in your organization up to more broadly, sharing meaningful content up to more more involved helping develop content up to more involved helping driving building the community and the initiative, we're looking for people at all levels of the spectrum of involvement, from passive to very active, to help build. It's going to be, you know, connecting people across the organization, it's going to be publishing research, and third party content. We're going to have regular emails and outreach and sharing great ideas. We're going to have regular meetings, both internal and, more importantly, our monthly external meetings, on on key ideas. We're going to do our own research and surveys to really figure out what best practices is on what the reality is, in terms of what progress is being made and what areas and again, building on the idea of community, Brendan, and Don, anything you want to talk about, or anything you want to share here in terms of the engagement, and how we're looking to drive engagement through the council.

 

Brendan Walsh  8:12  

We've got I'm really super excited about this, because I think Greg, you touched on it at the start. Clearly WWT set, in many ways at the center of helping organizations big and small, reduce their carbon footprint, you know, meet the goals that the board or the CEO have set in terms of net zero reductions. So we can play a role there. But we clearly do not have the answers. No one has the answers. And I think John touched on this. Really, really I think the solutions will come from, you know, the group, they'll come organically and in from various ideas. So as I say, super excited about those, we're looking forward to, you know, really strong participation across the board at all levels. 

 

Greg Irwin  9:15  

Comments, I think are spot on in describing the true real world complexity of the problem. It's not about buying this server, that server. This is about what do you say operational power of palatability. You're absolutely 1,000% Right. And I think that the initiative here is not specifically to say you know, hey go to arm I think the the result might be you know, an increase the lifecycle the you know, the delay your refreshes and expand the life lifecycle of your of your servers that might be a very important highly impactful answer as As opposed to, you know, it might be simple, simple as recycle, reuse, rather than, you know, hey, do a full refresh and throw solar panels on the top of your datacenter. So we have some topics, Don and I batted back and forth, more efficient compute data center design sites, election, renewable energy, managing carbon credits, there's a lot of money out there. There's a lot of money floating around out there. And how do you get it? And how do you apply it efficient cooling, I think they're probably another, I don't know, 100 topics that this group could could promote and present. The point is, this is going to be determined by the community, not by BWG, and WWT. But this is the start of the kinds of topics that we think we want to tackle. And I'm going to keep going. So let's talk about the roles. I'm there, the sponsors, and the managers, we're starting with WWT and BWG, where operations, we're gonna help run it to council members. It's you all I hope everybody here is a council member. And my ask actually, is, write it down, I'd like everybody to please recommend three people, three people that you think would enjoy being part of this, please, that's the easiest way for us to triple our triple our membership and get ourselves started. Then Advisory Board Advisory Board are folks that are flag waivers that want to be active, that are going to be engaged and help drive the content of what we're doing here. The participation can vary. But that's the that's the strong active group, people will come and go, but Advisory Board are going to help us drive the content. That's the three tiers. Let's keep going. So community buying for its members, talk to us about how you can leverage SETC to promote ideas and impact change in real ways. The whole thing here is pragmatic change. And I think already just in the Congress, like conversation we've had here, we've already highlighted some of the real things we have to get at. Let me turn over to Brendan here for a minute. And Brendan, these this is your material talking about a little bit on the scope. Do us a favor and help us help walk us through a little bit more of the material.

 

Brendan Walsh  12:27  

Your Thanks, Greg. And really, this will just cover some of the work that a WWT has undertaken over the past six months in getting to where we are today, with a practice that's evolving, that actually has some products and services out there. So ESG obviously is a large and complex playing field, we are going to focus I think, probably, hopefully on the environment side of things, and principally in the energy space energy efficiency. And its interplay with climate stability. As you know, climate stability, or instability is driven by GHG emissions, and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. And we'll get to how that's measured. So that's going to be the area that we will pretty much play in recognizing Of course, that there's interplays with risk management, and the value chain, et cetera, et cetera. Then the next slide talking about GHG emissions. So I think most of you are probably aware, they're measured across three categories scope, one, two and three. scope two is what you purchase from the grid scope. One is what you generate yourself, or what the organization generates itself. And scope three is pretty much the entire value chain of an entity's of the organization's business, in terms of up till now are up all the past 12 months. Really most fortune 1000 companies have only reported scope one and scope two. Why? Because that's all they've been required to. In many cases, scope three was not like a regulatory requirements such as still is not as of today. scope three is also quite involved. However, with the advent of net zero targets are science based targets. To get a science based target approved an organization has to report and disclose its scope three emissions. So that's why you have seen a significant amount of activity along the lines of the demands for assistance with scope three calculations. So clearly this as a critical factor, as we look at helping organizations to reduce their get to net zero targets. Moving on So in terms of what so what we found happening in the background, I think everyone is aware of ESG is, it's moving at a rapid clip for a multitude of different reasons, probably driven principally by what we see feel and experience. And that's the increasing frequency and intensity of these climate related events. I've seen numbers between one and 2 trillion, we've come up with an estimate of about 1.3 trillion by within the next two to three years. And that's just the cost of climate related weather events. The response to that has been pretty swift with now, almost 100 countries, passing regulations, reclaiming disclosures and ESG related disclosures. However, it's not all about cost and increased regulation, there is a massive opportunity here, massive, we've estimated at around 12 trillion to for the world, basically, to get in line with the EU, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. And this is not just a European initiative or a US initiative, we're now seeing 140 countries across the world who have filed Net Zero pledges, then moving on to the next page. And what does this mean for the various stakeholder groups, whether those are employees, customers, consumers, buyers, and many of them have multiple, multiple different roles. Certainly, from the consumer perspective, we're seeing that more than half of the consumers are willing to change the purchasing habits to have a authentic, credible environmental impact. And almost 80% of them believe that it's important for brands to offer a clean, environmentally clean product, and then jumping over to employees. We're seeing that almost 90% of millennials. And I think that's very important here. To Don's point previously about this began generational initiative, almost 90% of them are millennials willing to take a pay cut, we look to work for an organisation that demonstrates authentic environmental credentials. So then moving on. So bringing all this together, what we are seeing is clearly this acceleration of the need for ESG services in the marketplace. And that has probably been boosted recently by the SEC pronouncement about their proposed regulations and recommend for 2023. Actually, the deadline for that expired was supposed to be last Friday, that now extended it by a month, given the level of interest that's been demonstrated there. So that's happening, we're also seeing that competitively. Our competitors are rapidly expanding their offices, their offers, whether it's through new products, partnerships, or just in a massive hiring sprees, we're seeing a lot of that our OEM partners, we live in a very powerful position of having some pretty strong OEM relationships. our OEM partners are actively fielding interest from their customers and looking for ESG partnerships there. So based on all of that, and based on the unique competitive differentiator, the Advanced Technology Center, which we'll talk about in a second, we believe that the this is a unique time for WWT and thus the launch of this ESG offering moving on. So at the heart of the offering, our offering is predicated across three dimensions, which are going to separately but at the heart of that lays the Advanced Technology Center, why because we believe that as unique in the marketplace, and from that we can provide sustainable technology offerings and services ESG strategy consulting, and related to that, obviously ESG data and AI based solutions. So for example, if you wanted to assess your organization's environmental footprint, and chart a course to net zero, using a controlled environment such as the ATC, this is possible. Moving along, we'll get to the three different offerings. So under sustainable technology, really this is about working with organizations of all sizes organizations to really make them more efficient from an energy perspective, tying it back to the very first chart of a lot of these organizations have net zero targets, they have to get to net zero by 2040 2050, or whatever they've committed to. And even if you're not in the Fortune 500, or fortune 1000, who has submitted one of these targets, will guess what each of their suppliers have got to submit a net zero target in turn. So it's only a matter of time before this cascades down through the system. But under sustainable technology, we will be able to have offerings, such as quantum simulation as a service that was touched on earlier about doing things basically doing processes, a faster, sustainable digital infrastructure, and sustainable sustainability lab, both testing and optimization, in terms of strategy consulting, we believe are very well placed there to help all organizations big and small, whether that's, you know, organizations starting out and their sustainability journey, and providing them the baseline metrics, their target setting, right through to the more advanced organizations. And then ESG data and AI, we see opportunities along the lines, for example of sustainable data centers are AI based, you know, analytics, that will be very, very useful. And then, how does this come to life? Well, we actually have some of these offerings in place just now. And I'm going to have done just speak to that on the next slide. Again, there are plenty of topics for us to cover,

 

Greg Irwin  21:52  

I think, the idea that we're going to solve this left my left my mind a very long time ago, I'm not sure it ever really was something that I even contemplated that there was a solution. I don't think finding a solution is the answer, or is the goal even, I think the goal is to drive better understanding to share best practices, to evangelize practical steps that can be made. Carbon Neutral for me, carbon neutral, sounds impossible, not interested in carbon neutral. But I don't want to create analysis paralysis either, where we're not taking a 10% improvement, because, you know, because it's not big enough. I don't want to avoid that I'd be very happy with the 10% improvement. And then we'll talk about the next step after we achieve that one. I love the idea of CPU consumption. And Manny, thank you for that. It's not just servers, it's networking gear as well. I'd like to hear from others topics prioritizing topics, what would be the most helpful not just for intellectual curiosity. But actually, for your organization or your clients? Somebody have an idea, something they're working on thinking on, or something that might actually help move the needle a little bit. I don't mean to say, don't set it as the goal. In fact, I liked Bill Gates' book on, you know how to break down the problem. And you really have to make bold steps. But I know in the world of enterprise tech and being a my, I don't want to avoid the small steps in lieu of, what is it great as the enemy of good. That's something I believe. So we'll take the success as we can not to say the goal isn't isn't ultimately big.

 

Brendan Walsh  23:58  

Yeah, and Greg. Just to add to that, bearing in mind that, for most organizations that net zero targets will say that they'll get to net zero by 2040 2050. And a couple of cases earlier than that. But for many of them, they're also looking at 50% reduction by 2030. And that's how they're judged if they're on target for that. So I think it would be safe to say we should be looking at trying to get somewhere close to that, because that would make sure that would ensure that we're aligned with most of the net zero targets that you see out there.

 

Greg Irwin  24:36  

Let's set our follow up. We have a committee meeting coming up in about a week to start building structures. I would love volunteers. I've already had several, probably five of you who messaged me offline volunteering. Thank you. If you're able to and you haven't reached out to me, please do. Y'all know where to find me, Greg@BWGstrategy.com This is an independent group. So we're going to build it, we're looking for sponsors, we're gonna find some, I have no doubt we have relationships, we want to find the right sponsors, we're going to help really reinforce the organization as we envision it. It's going to take a lot of effort, it's going to take organization, but we have a lot of smart people who really care about it. It's important, it matters. It's interesting, it's engaging, and I think that we can make a difference. So I'm personally extraordinarily excited. This is one of the more fun things I get to do day in, day out. And I feel very fortunate. Brendan, Thank you, Don, Weston and team. We're going to make some headway here. Our next step, again, next week, we're going to do a committee meeting. We'll follow on with our next topic of conversation will pick a topic and build on it. One of the many that we outlined here. Please remember, recommend three people. All right. That's how we're going to grow this. It's going to be word of mouth, and we're going to start right here with this. So please come to me, three people. That includes you Don and and Brendan and Wes and me to everybody here brings three people and we're gonna we're gonna grow this stuff. All right, let's wrap it up.

 

You can email me Yeah. Rob. Email me the intros place, Greg@BWGstrategy.com. Okay. Thanks, everybody. Appreciate your time. Appreciate the relationships. And this is going to be fun.

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